Whether you host with us or not, we definitely suggest backing up your site on the regular. Imagine waking up, having your coffee, logging in to check out if any new requests have come through and you find out your site is going to National Geographic! This is actually a true story. A client of ours has a separate charity site for their annual events. They sent out the invites, the social posts–the works. Only to find out that when they went to their site to add a new user they found out it was pointing to NatGeo. They were hacked. Plain and simple.
Stories like these are far too common which is why you need to back up your site on the regular. If you host with us, you know that you are in good hands by having a nightly backup AND daily malware scans. But, if you’re just not ready to take that step, we’ve pulled together a guide to help you choose a backup plugin. Below are 11 Must-have features for any backup plugin worth having.
1. Complete Backup Service
A WordPress website is made up of files and tables. This includes site settings, posts, pages, plugins, themes, media, and configuration. The least you would expect from a backup plugin is that it would backup every file and table for your website right? However, all backup plugins are not capable of a full website backup.
To ensure your WordPress website is safely archived, choose a plugin that will sync every part of your website.
2. Smart Incremental Backups
WordPress websites and their plugins mostly rely on the site servers to perform everyday activities. However, only a few WordPress backup plugins run on their own servers. These have a system in place that backs up all your site data onto their own server and runs backup operations on that, ensuring your site remains unaffected. Not only that, but they even sync your website incrementally. Backing up a big site is a hassle. To make sure that they don’t miss backing up any part, some backup plugins sync the files and database in small manageable chunks to the plugin’s servers. Then the changes are recorded daily.
While this method is far more intelligent, it also reduces the load on your servers, and efficiently backs up even large sites.
3. Off-site Off-Host Backup Storage
It is often easier to take backups of your website than to ensure their safety. The location your website backups are stored in must be safe, otherwise, you could still be in trouble. Most backup plugins store backups in your web servers. This is certainly not ideal since your server is taking on the burden of backing up your site, on top of performing regular processes.
Moreover, if your hosting account is hacked, access to your server space is also unavailable. Combating this issue is possible only with a backup plugin that does not put any load on your servers. It should be off-host and off-site. Certain backup plugins run on their own servers.
4. Multiple Encrypted Backups
Apart from syncing and copying processes off-site, the actual backup files must also be kept safe. This can be possible only if multiple backups and their versions are stored in various locations. It could be in the plugin’s server, or on a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive, or simply downloaded to your computer. These must also be encrypted so that even if a hacker gets access to your site, your backups still remain safe.
5. Custom Schedule Backups
While daily backups and easy restorations are important, being able to schedule automatic backups are handy. You can do this by creating a schedule for backing up automatically. This will ensure that you have an up-to-date backup at all times.
Even if you’re not adding or modifying any content to your site, your visitors will be leaving comments. This is the kind of data you don’t want to lose, no matter what. Setting up your backups to be taken daily at a particular time is the best idea.
6. Completely Independent Dashboard
Backups are supposed to be a fall-back option for worst-case scenarios. When your website is down due to a server issue, or a malware, how do you access your backups if they are on the same network as your website? What you need is a Backup space which won’t go down along with your website. Your backups should be placed in a separate server. Not only that, but they must be accessible via an Independent dashboard.
Safety of these backups is guaranteed by storing multiple, encrypted copies of them insecure data centers independent of the main site.
7. Real-Time Backups for WooCommerce sites
Here’s the cherry on the cake for any backup plugin user! Real-Time backups care really important for online stores. For WooCommerce websites, every single order matters. Losing even one transaction can lead to a significant financial loss. Online stores must be open 24/7 and cannot afford any downtime. A robust backup plan can actually save the day in such cases. But taking frequent backups can be resource intensive.
Some backup plugins actually go a step further and offer WooCommerce websites Real-Time Backups. Each and every change in the website is tracked. That specific changed file and table will be synced to the backup, as and when the change occurs.
Weigh the cost of downtime against the advantages of an efficient real-time backup solution. It is easy to see why more and more WooCommerce stores are turning towards Real-Time backups.
8. Reliable Backup Recovery
You might be surprised to find out that most WordPress backup plugins do not offer an easy way to restore your site. Free backup plugins especially lack the ability to reliably restore backups. The reason anyone backs up their site in the first place is to be able to restore it at any given time.
In those charged moments of panic when your website is down, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting for external assistance to fix your site. On the other hand, with the right sort of backup plugin, you are only a few clicks away from getting your site back just the way it was.
9. Easy Website Migration
Backups have various utilities. Apart from website recovery, backups are useful in migrating to a new web host. Website migration is a necessary part of being in the WordPress ecosystem. It is not an easy task either, no matter how simple or small your website may be. One tiny miss-step can lead to a broken site in your new hosting environment.
Many backup plugins do not cater to all web hosts The best backup plugins will make it very easy to move your WordPress website to any new location.
10. Staging that Works Anywhere, Anytime
Were you ever worried if a new update or plugin or theme would break your site? That’s where Staging comes in. It is important to safely update plugins, themes, and WordPress Core in a safe development environment before pushing required changes on to the live site. Certain backup plugins can actually help you stage your site, without paying extra for a separate development environment. This saves a lot of time, since you do not need to export backups, or duplicate your site in an external environment.
A true All-in-One backup service will go above and beyond to offer everything backups can do, the easy way.
11. Responsive Customer Support
Although you can rely on all the reputed WordPress backup plugins to work most of the time, it’s still vital that you choose a tool that’s covered by responsive user support. While you can find powerful free backup WordPress plugins, one of the main benefits of paying for an upgrade to the commercial versions is the agile access to the support channels. A personal touch in support goes a long way in a satisfactory online experience.
If there’s only a handful of commercial WordPress-related products you’re willing to financially invest in, a premium backup plugin should be at the front of the queue. Assessing the quality of the user support before signing up can be tricky. However, checking out the online documentation can give you an idea of how seriously a company takes user support. Before making a final decision, maybe try firing off a few emails to the plugin vendor to get an idea of how responsive they are. Also, look for changelogs and other information on how often the product is updated.
There you go, you now know the 11 must-have features to look for when choosing a WordPress backup plugin. For a quick recap, here are some of the most important features you should consider adding to your backup plugin requirements list:
- Ability to take complete as well as partial website backups.
- Reliable and easy backup restoration process.
- Ability to download backups and store them off-site.
- Straightforward WordPress website staging and migration.
- Comprehensive website maintenance
- Responsive user support and helpful documentation from a reputable company.
By following the above advice you should have no trouble choosing a backup and restore plugin for your WordPress website that you can rely on to keep your site and its content safe.
Now that you know what you need, how would you like it if you had a safety net that includes:
- The Best WordPress Security Solution powered by Flywheel/WPEngine.
- The Easiest WordPress Backup and Migration Tool with a one-click restoration button.
- An Inbuilt WordPress Staging Environment.
- The Most intuitive WordPress Site Management suite.
The best part, you can utilize all these from within the same dashboard.
Why waste time using so many different services or pay for multiple services, when you can have them all together?